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No Blame For Bush

Reported by Ellen - September 1, 2005

Last night, Hannity & Colmes hosted former Congressman Bob Livingston (R-LA) to talk about Hurricane Katrina. As usual, all the problems were the Democrats' fault and all the solutions were thanks to President Bush.

Livingston said the looting in New Orleans could have been prevented by borrowing law enforcement "from other parts of the state." (Comment: Weren't they busy, too?) Livingston added that the looting "can't be excused and leadership has to pay a price for it." Of course, he meant Democratic leadership only.

Not discussed either with Livingston or on Hannity & Colmes to date are a few questions about Bush's leadership failures:

1. Bush diverted money that was supposed to be used by the Army Corps of Engineers to shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain. As reported in Editor and Publisher:

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness

...The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars

2. Whether the Louisiana National Guard troops deployed in Iraq (more than a third of the force, according to Newsweek) and their equipment could have made a difference to the response.

As Newsweek also reported,

For all the president’s statements ahead of the hurricane, the region seemed woefully unprepared for the flooding of New Orleans—a catastrophe that has long been predicted by experts and politicians alike. There seems to have been no contingency planning for a total evacuation of the city, including the final refuges of the city’s Superdome and its hospitals. There were no supplies of food and water ready offshore—on Navy ships for instance—in the event of such flooding, even though government officials knew there were thousands of people stranded inside the sweltering and powerless city.

How does this reflect on national preparedness for another terrorist attack? That, too, went undiscussed on H&C.

3. Finally, there's the question of Bush's unwillingness to cut short his vacation. At the tail end of a five week vacation during wartime, Bush waited two days after the storm to tour the area. Even the far right-wing New Hampshire Union Leader criticized Bush for

(carrying on) with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

But on H&C, there was only praise for Bush. Referencing Bush's actions on the gasoline shortage, Congressman Livingston said it's going to get worse before it gets better but "I think we're looking at good things to come." Then he added, "but we've got to have law and order to do it."

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